31 Jul 2013
Once upon a time long ago there was a young king who was attempting to lead the Nation of Israel in the ways of God. One evening after worshipping God at the Tabernacle in Gibeon he had a dream. In this dream God appeared to him and ask him what would he chose that God should give to him.
1 Kings 3:5 & Following (AMP)
5 In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night. And God said, Ask what I shall give you.
Solomon’s answer is instructive, particularly as we see the response of God to his request.
6 Solomon said, You have shown to Your servant David my father great mercy and loving-kindness, according as he walked before You in faithfulness, righteousness, and uprightness of heart with You; and You have kept for him this great kindness and steadfast love, that You have given him a son to sit on his throne this day.
7 Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of David my father, and I am but a lad [in wisdom and experience]; I know not how to go out (begin) or come in (finish).
8 Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people who cannot be counted for multitude.
9 So give Your servant an understanding mind and a hearing heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and bad. For who is able to judge and rule this Your great people? 10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.
Solomon’s response is clearly humble and contrite. As king of the nation, Solomon calls himself the servant of God on three different occasions. He clearly recognizes his need for God’s wisdom and understanding in order to rule God’s great nation wisely. God continues to comment on Solomon’s request:
11 God said to him, Because you have asked this and have not asked for long life or for riches, nor for the lives of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to recognize what is just and right,
12 Behold, I have done as you asked. I have given you a wise, discerning mind, so that no one before you was your equal, nor shall any arise after you equal to you.
13 I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there shall not be any among the kings equal to you all your days.
14 And if you will go My way, keep My statutes and My commandments as your father David did, then I will lengthen your days.
Notice what God said concerning what Solomon did not ask for. He did not ask for long life or riches or victory in battle, but he asked for what would allow Him to best serve God in the role and calling he had received. His request was more centered on serving God than on receiving from God things based on selfish motives. God’s answer to Solomon seems to confirm the words of Jesus:
Matthew 6:33 (NASB95)
33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
The passage above in Matthew seems to be a good guide as we pray for revival. We need to be sure that our prayers are not motivated by direct or indirect personal benefits. Our motives can be at times difficult to discern since our minds are so adept at rationalization. One of the best ways to minimize rationalization is to dive head first into humility. A truly humble person rarely gets involved in rationalization.
Perhaps this lies behind God’s instruction in 2 Chron. 7:14 to humble ourselves as the first step toward revival. Below in the passage in James we see several attitudes described that are far from a heart of humility
James 4:1-3 (AMP)
1 WHAT LEADS to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members?
2 You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask.
3 [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.
In our praying in general and praying for revival in particular we must seek to pray primarily for the interests of God and not for those of ourselves. Our actual request is not nearly as important as our heart attitude behind our request. God looks on the heart. God saw the heart of Solomon. He saw a humble contrite heart desiring to be an effective servant of God.
Jesus also taught these things when His disciples ask Him to teach them to pray. He taught that the concerns of God should be considered first:
Matthew 6:9-13 (AMP)
9 Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors.
13 And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
In the pattern that Jesus gave to His disciples we see not only God’s Name and His purposes being presented as first in priority, we also see the pattern of requests for ourselves to be similar to those of the prayer of Solomon. These are requests that when affirmatively answered provide for the servants of God to serve Him well.
Praying is primarily about God. We, due in part to our propensity toward self-centeredness, tend to make it more about us. Jesus prayed primarily in order that He might understand and follow the directions and desires of His Father. As we pray for revival may the Holy Spirit give us the heart of Jesus, drawing near to God with pure motives, seeking God’s work and God’s will to be done here on earth by the power of His Holy Spirit.